Ustad Amanat Ali Khan: Ae Watan, Piyare Watan

Posted on August 12, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Music, People
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Adil Najam

Following its spectacular success with the Independence Day tribute to Mehdi Hassan and his iconic song Yeh watan tumhara hai’ (2006) and to Farida Khanum with the new song ‘Hum bolain mohabat ki zabaan‘ (2007), the telecom company Mobilink and filmstar Shaan (of Khuda Key Liye fame), who is the moving force and director behind this wonderful series of tributes, have now released a third musical tribute to mark this year’s Independence Day celebrations. This year, the musical maestro being celebrated is Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and the song is his heart-moving rendition of Ai watan, piyare watan.’

It is yet another iconic song. Yet another moving tribute. Yet another inspirational production that gives one goosebumps, makes ones heart beat faster, and transports you to that moment where the pettiness of the politics of the moment fades in the potential of that which could have been. In that magical moment, no matter what your political persuation might be, no matter how good or bad a singer you might be, you too want to sing out loud and join in: “Aye watan, piyare watan… aye mairey piyare watan!

Long-time readers know how fond I am of this series of songs produced by Mobilink and Shaan (here and here). It is so, not only for the songs themselves but the new meaning infused into them in the video and the imagery. I still believe that the first song (Mehdi Hassan singing ‘Yeh watan tumhara hai) has been the most outstanding in a series where each song is outstanding. Indeed, I wrote three different posts on that song and its video (here, here and here).

The difference this time is that the singer being honored, Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, is no more with us. The video artfully mixes his old videos with new clips and an occasional cameo by a look-alike to give the compelling impression that he is still with us, singing for us. The linking motif this time is Ustad Amanat Ali Khan’s son, and singing sensation, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan (his elder brother, Asad Amanat Ali, died recently) and I suspect that the little child with his is also from the same clan. Artist Saeed Akhter is also featured prominently in the video. Readers would recall that the Mehdi Hassan video had appearances from many other luminaries, including poet Munir Niazi, who died soon afterwards (on Munir Niazi here, here and here).

As I listen to the song, another long-time favorite of mine (my colleague Owais Mughal had listed the song last year as one of his favorite expressions of Pakistaniat), I listen to it with a new sensibility. A sensibility that derives from all the heartache of the times we live in, but also from imagery of this new video; imagery that is meant to and does give the song new meaning. I am struck how music can be timeless; but also by the sophistication of the poetry that used to go into even popular music.

As I listen to it today it becomes as much an expression of dedication as a prayer. The statement of an idea, the pursuit of an ideal, the articulation of hopes. It has none of the arrogance of anthems, and all of the tenderness of a love sonnet. This verse is particularly featured in the video and speaks particularly to this point:

Mairi hasti meiN aana hai, mairi masti mein shaoor
Jaan-fizaa maira takhaiul hai, tou shireen hai sukhn

24 Comments on “Ustad Amanat Ali Khan: Ae Watan, Piyare Watan

  1. faisal says:
    August 12th, 2008 1:18 am

    In these confusing and turbulent days, when its so hard to keep your faith in things that our fathers so dear to them, these songs keeps me going.

    Happy Independence Day to every Pakistani.

  2. Obi Wan Kenobi says:
    August 12th, 2008 2:08 am

    The model is quite good looking. Does any one know her name ?

  3. Wajid says:
    August 12th, 2008 2:27 am

    Beutiful song and great video. Shaan and Mobilink are doing a great service through these songs. And really heartfelt writing by the author. One can sense the feeling with which you have written these words to express what we are all thinking. Thank you for this.

    Pakistan Zindabad.

  4. Imran says:
    August 12th, 2008 2:27 am

    Another independence song that give me shivers down the spine is “Dosti” by Jawad Ahmed. That is the only I song like from him.

  5. Wajid says:
    August 12th, 2008 2:42 am

    Another version of the same song by Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan in concert with only voice and no music. I think it is superb.

  6. Zia says:
    August 12th, 2008 7:30 am

    Thanks Adil!

    Very rightly said…” …that moment where the pettiness of the politics of the moment fades in the potential of that which could have been.”

    Allah bless our Pakistan and all Pakistanis.

  7. YLH says:
    August 12th, 2008 7:48 am

    Most touching about this song is Shafqat’s longing for his father … in the backdrop for Pakistan’s longing for its father… and the coming together of the two.

    For those of us who have lost our dads can understand this sentiment better.

  8. PMA says:
    August 12th, 2008 8:05 am

    “………an expression of dedication…….a prayer……statement of an idea……the pursuit of an ideal……the articulation of hopes.”

    Well said Dr. Adil Najam. We could still do it if we put our hearts and minds to it.

  9. an officer and a gentleman says:
    August 12th, 2008 8:44 am

    Great Song,

    Good video as well.

    Well done Shaan and Mobilink.

    Pakistan Paindabaad

  10. RJH says:
    August 12th, 2008 10:19 am

    The Ustad Amanat Ali video portrays the Pakistan, the people and the country I loved and I miss.

  11. August 12th, 2008 11:51 am

    A wonderful ever green song. I like it very much. Mobilink deserves every praise for what they have done.

  12. A. Jadoon says:
    August 12th, 2008 1:19 pm

    Very nicely written. Thank you.

    I wish our leaders could speak with the same heartfelt sincerity with which this post is written or this song is sung. May, then we would start having more trust in what they are saying.

  13. MQS says:
    August 12th, 2008 7:01 pm

    Very nice piece. I can very well relate to those goosebumps and optimism that comes along when listening to these masterpieces.

    Here is another one with similar effects,

  14. SZK says:
    August 13th, 2008 12:49 am

    This is infact the ‘fourth’ and not the third edition of the tribute series. The first one was to Noor Jahan, followed by Mehdi Hassan, Farida Khanum and now Amaanat Ali Khan.

  15. Eidee Man says:
    August 13th, 2008 1:57 am

    Great song and video; Mobilink outdoes itself every time.

  16. Mahrukh says:
    August 13th, 2008 3:25 am

    Great song! I’ve only been actually living here for the past 4 years, but I assure you that I feel the same way about the song as those who grew up listening to it.

    Great work by Mobilink and Shaan! Jashne Azaadi Mubarak!

  17. shahran says:
    August 13th, 2008 7:21 am

    Good post.

    The only thing left here was the inclusion of the poet who actually wrote these verses.

    I think in these days where there is a video and there are many more people in the video who has nothing to do with the song although they perform acting, the significance of the poet who wrote these lines goes into the background.

    I like Shaan and mobilink did this but it would have been nice that they should have recognized the contribution of the poet in here.

    I guess the poet does not have a “brand value” which would benefit mobilink.An unfortunate thing of the corporate culture.

  18. Owais Mughal says:
    August 13th, 2008 9:09 am

    Who is the poet of this song?

  19. Shaista says:
    August 14th, 2008 1:47 pm

    This is a moving song. Thank you to Mobilink and Shaan for making this series.

    I agree that the one on Mehdi Hassan Sahib is the most moving one but all of them are great in their own right.

    Indeed these do make you think about Pakistan with love and tenderness.

  20. SALEEM says:
    August 14th, 2008 3:22 pm

    Amanat Ali Khan was a great singer and this is a fitting tribute to him. The visuals were beautiful in this and they were really able to create the sense that Ustad Amanat Ali Khan was himself singing here. This is a beautiful song and a beautiful video.

  21. Javed Anwar says:
    August 13th, 2009 2:09 pm

    Hi PAKISTAN ,,, You are the Best of the Bestsssss …. I love so much and Inshallah I will spare that very eye which will look to you with bad sight …………..

  22. WAqar Hussain NAich says:
    May 8th, 2010 7:19 am

    Asslam Alaikum :
    My Name is Waqar Hussain Naich From Disst: Naushahro feroze , I Like Veery Much Ustad Amanat Ali ,
    After LIstening his songs My Heart Is Saying One voice That Pakistan Zindabad……………..

  23. sajid0 says:
    May 29th, 2010 10:00 am

    i love my pakistan and it’s people plz mere mail pe ae watan pak watan by ustad amant ali khan ka song send kar de plz

  24. Abdul Hafeez says:
    December 18th, 2011 1:50 am

    Allah Ustad amanat ali Khan ko Jannat naseeb Farmaay,

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